Jun 16, 2013

A Star Wars Kind of Father's Day



When my girls and I were deciding what to do for my hubby for Father's Day, we tried to think of things that HE would enjoy.

Besides Phish, (and if you don't know who Phish is, then good for you!  Some day, I'll write about how this band has made it's way into my life, and into the lives of my children.  Until then...), my hubby has one lifelong love.

Star Wars.

It started when he first saw the movie at age 3, and has continued ever since.

I'm sure if he thought I would allow it, he would be one of those guys that dresses up in authentic Stormtrooper gear and parades himself around at various Star Wars conventions.

But he doesn't think I would allow it.

He may or may not be right.

BUT, on Father's Day, it's all about him!


We started our day by waking him up with the hugs, cards, and the Best Donuts EVER!

The girls has even made him a sign earlier in the week that said, "We Love You More Than You Love Donuts!"

After daddy ate his donuts and watched a little ESPN,  it was movie time!  We all settled in for a viewing of The Empire Strikes Back!

When it was time for lunch, we had some Hans Solo Sandwiches, Skywalker Watermelon, Princess Leia Pretzels, Wookie Cookies, and Jedi Juice.  All on Star Wars plates, of course :)

Daddy even got a special cup!

The girls and I had even made Lightsabor's out of pool noodles and Duct Tape earlier in the week.  After the movie, an EPIC battles ensued!


The girls decorated these mugs for his desk at work.  We used Sharpies and baked them, according to the instructions on this post I got from Pinterest.

After all of our Star Wars themed activities, daddy watched the Cubs game, I got a nap (yep...best husband EVER!), and then we had daddy's favorite dinner: Chipotle!  And of course, I made him key lime pie for dessert, which is also one of his faves!


We also celebrated my father-in-law earlier in the weekend.  As his gift, the girls and I picked strawberries from a nearby field, washed and chopped them, and then used this recipe to make Strawberry Jam.

Faith loved being able to pick the berries right off the vine!

Addy was impressed that we could get as many as we wanted!


We not only gave him a bottle to take home, but we invited him over to enjoy some with us for a Father's Day breakfast!

YUM!


He really is a wonderful Grandad to my girls, and a great Father to my husband and I!


Grandparent love!

Here's hoping that you all enjoyed Father's Day as much as we did here!

Jun 7, 2013

The First Sleepover Of Summer

What girl doesn't love a sleepover?

My girls ask for them just about every week.

And just about every week, I say no.

Because while all girls love sleepovers, moms do not.

But since school was out for the summer, and because I have to earn some 'fun mom' points right out of the gate, this time, I said YES!

Here are some highlights:

Before their friends arrived, my girls helped me make double doozie cookies for an after dinner treat.

Addy and her friend, Rachel, being silly...which is mostly what they do all the time.

We did 'make-your-own-pizza' for dinner and the girls loved it!

Super Girl really enjoyed the cookies for dessert!

Faith and her friend, Annie, watched a little Pocahontas.

All of the girls played Sorry Sliders, which is always a hit!

In the morning, the girls requested cereal and homemade breakfast smoothies.  How can a mom say no??

What are some of your favorite Sleepover Activities to keep the kids entertained??

May 31, 2013

Last Day Of School Fun

Ummm, so it's been a while.

... like forever.

Actually, it's a long story, but the short version is, I wanted to write about my kids on my blog today.

So I am.

Wednesday was the last day of school for my girls.

Faith is going to be a second grader, and Addy is going to be a fourth grader.

YIKES!

Each year seems shorter and shorter.

#panickymomhere

We started our day off with Thank You notes and Gift Cards for the Teachers and Bus Drivers.

The Teachers got Target Gift Cards that said, 'Thank You For Keeping Us On TARGET This year'.

The Bus Drivers got Subway Gift Cards.  They didn't say anything clever.

Because ALL of my clever ideas come from Pinterest, and I couldn't find a cute bus driver/subway phrase.

Oh well...hope they enjoy the gift cards anyway :)


Anyhow, here are a few pics from our 'Last-Day-Of-School' Fun!

I got this idea from Pinterest and I did it last year, too.  It is the 'OFFICIAL' summer celebration sign :)

I always get some 'welcome to summer' gifts as well.  They love the surprises when they come home.  (Can you tell my girls might be a little Hello Kitty obsessed?)

This year, I decided to create a Summer Scrapbook for them.  They can add pages throughout the summer , detailing the fun things we do.

Addy loved all of her surprises

I also got each girl a Summer writing book.  They can write stories, they can write about their day,  they can write what they want to do...basically, they can write anything they want :)

Faith was happy to be home on her last day, and ready for summer to start!

She also loved all of her surprises!  I love seeing their faces when they see all the goodies :)

This is another idea I got from Pinterest.  I have a plan for each morning to start our day off right!  This way, there isn't a lot of sitting around, watching TV or being bored.  It keeps their brain active, and we get stuff accomplished!  More about this another time...

Later in the evening, we let the girls choose dinner, (They chose Beef O'Brady's because of the game room), and then we went to SOYO for some yummy frozen yogurt!

It was a fun last day, and a great kick-off to a spectacular summer!

Jan 29, 2013

Real Weight Loss for Real People



I want to share with you a journey that I have been on!

Some of you have been reading this blog a while, so you know the struggles I have had with my weight.

For those who don't know, here's a short recap:

Been fat all my life.

Seriously.

All.  My.  Life.

Chubby baby, chubby kid, fat teenager, and obese adult.

I had tried every diet available.  Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, counting calories, Dr. Phil diet, liquid diet...you name it!

And finally, this past September, I realized I needed to change my life.

Not another diet, but a life change.

And I did.

Here are my before and after pics:



This is what real weight loss does.

It changes your body.  Inside and out!

I have learned to eat food that is good for my body.

I have overcome my addiction to soda, sugar and processed foods.  And if you had told me that was even a remote possibility a year ago, I would have politely called you crazy.  And then eaten a cookie.

And I know that if I could do this, so can you!

So can anyone!

I will help you!

I lost my weight by using Advocare products.  I started with a 24 day challenge bundle.

And if you want to know more about that, I would love to share it with you.

But if you can't or don't want to do Advocare, you can STILL do it!!!

It's about committing to a life change.  And deciding that no matter what, you won't turn back.  Mistakes will happen.  You'll give into cravings.  You'll eat chicken wings and onion rings.

BUT DON'T GIVE UP!!!!!

Dust yourself off and get back at it the next day.

Be intentional and don't make excuses!  Decide that instead of coming up with a million reasons that you can't do it or why it won't work, you'll figure out a  way to make it work!!

Because you deserve it!

I feel better than I have in 20 years.

And I'm not being dramatic....for realz!

Let's do this!

Dec 13, 2012

Disney World

Oh friends.

I know it has been far too long.

What can I say?

Life.

Anyhoo...



WE WENT TO DISNEY WORLD!!!

Again :)


Main Street at Magic Kingdom


I love it so much there.

Maybe even more than my children.



Faith (being silly) and I 


Lots of folks have been asking lots of questions about any tips I might have and things I like/don't like.

So here are a few thoughts:

-We booked directly through the Disney World website this time.  It worked out fine and we got a great deal (free Disney Dining Plan!).  I *never* go to Disney without getting a great deal.  Right now they have a few deals for winter that are decent.  You can check them out here


My girls and Minnie


-As usual, I used All Ears to help plan most of our vacation.  They always have up-to-date info. and the amount of knowledge all things Disney is beyond amazing!


Princess elf ears 


 -We stayed at Caribbean Beach Resort this time.  If I'm honest, it wasn't my fave.  It is HUGE and sprawled out.  If we had gone in summer, I think we would have enjoyed it more because the pool looked fun.  But it seems a little older than the others and just not as nice.  I must say that the staff was wonderful, though, and since you don't spend a lot of time in the room, it was fine.


Addy learning some archery

  • We have stayed at Port Orleans (Riverside), and All Star Movies and liked those as well.  We have also stayed off property and enjoyed that (but staying on property is ALWAYS better!)

Pocahantas and the girls at Animal Kingdom



  • Next time, I want to stay at The Wilderness Lodge.  It's my new favorite location.  Unless it's summer.  Then my favorite would be The Yacht and Beach Club.  And The Boardwalk is fun, too!

The BEAUTIFUL tree at the Wilderness Lodge, (sorry it's a little out of focus...camera phone...)



-This time, we had groceries delivered to our room which helps in eating better and saving money!  We had bananas, water bottles, Gatorade, juice boxes, and crackers in the room and to take to the parks with us.  MUCH cheaper than buying those items at Disney World and we didn't have to pack them, (which is great because the airlines are strict on the 50 lbs. and it is very expensive to pay the overage fee!).  The grocery service we used was Garden Grocer and while it does have a delivery fee and a $40 minimum purchase, it was still worth it when you consider a single bottle of water is about $3 at Disney.  (And I drink A LOT of water these days!).


My hubby and girls at Hollywood Studios


-We also had one of our girls get sick while on the trip.  (Unfortunately, this isn't our first Disney trip that involved an illness).  But this time she had a fever, and I forgot to bring a thermometer :(  Bad Mommy!!


The fireworks at Magic Kingdom



  • Plus she had a sore throat.  Since we weren't sure if it was strep or just a viral thing, I started researching our options.  Here's what I found out:  


Addy at The Spectacle of Lights at Hollywood Studios


  • Disney will arrange a ride for you to a near by Urgent Care, if you don't have a car (which we didn't).  BUT, chances are, the wait at that Urgent Care is about 3 hours long.  

Snow White and her prince



  • I don't know about you, but I had no interest in spending my Disney vacation waiting in an Urgent Care while we picked up some other little illness to take back to the fam.  Our other option was to pay for a doctor to come to the room.  




  • You read that right.

The girls and Belle at The Story Book Princess lunch in Norway at Epcot



  • At Disney, a doctor will make house calls!!!  (or hotel calls if you will...)




  • But just like every other thing at Disney, it will cost you.




  • About $300 to be exact.

The girls and Merida from Brave.  I think this is who they were most excited to see this time!



  • But if you've saved your money, spent a gazillion hours planning your perfect vacation, and don't want to see that all slip away, sometimes you're willing to just pony up the cash and get on with it.

The Castle at night during the show.  SO COOL!!



  • Which is what we did.

Minnie and Mickey during the Once Upon a Christmas Parade


  • And I'm glad we did because the doctor came right away, dispensed an antibiotic right in the room, and we were out at the parks within 2 hours!

the girls and Donald in Mexico at Epcot



  • The Magic of Disney!!

Ahhh yes....Let the Memories Begin


-As usual, we did the Disney Dining plan.  I am a BIG fan of this plan if you have a family and know that you'll want to do sit-down or character meals etc.  BUT, if you don't care about any of that, then the dining plan probably won't save you much, if any, money.


The Fairy Godmother and Faith


  • And if you ARE doing sit-down or character meals, make your reservations early!!!  Pretty much everything books up fast, but especially Cinderella's Royal Table, Be Our Guest, Princess Story Book, and Chef Mickey's.

Faith and I at the 50's Prime Time Cafe in Hollywood Studios.  Such a great restaurant!  Just like home!  (Well, if you grew up in the 50's I guess...)



  • Quick Note: Be Our Guest (the restaurant in the new Fantasyland area), is quick service dining for lunch.  Which means, no reservation required!  We did this option and it's what we will do again!  No wasting a table service credit and still get great food and the experience of eating in the Beast's Castle!

The enchanted rose in The Beast's Castle



  • Oh!  And another thing we discovered at Magic Kingdom: the Dole Whip!!  How in THE WORLD had I never tried this before???  I have no idea.  But this time, we did try it, and it will be the first thing I get when I go again!!  You can grab one in MK at Aloha Isle in Adventureland!



-I used a great app this time on our trip and it really did work out well!  It's called WDW Touring and you can subscribe at TouringPlans.com

Cinderella and her prince in their carriage


  • It cost $11.95 for a one year subscription and you can download park plans, or create your own.  Just choose which attractions you want to see, breaks, meals etc. and then it will optimize it for you, based on wait times etc., and tell you which order you should ride/get fast passes etc.  It also has menu's for all the restaurants, wait times, park hours, which parks are most crowded, and where characters are located in the park!  It was a lifesaver for us and I will definitely use it again when we go.

the girls and Tinker Bell


-As it was right after Thanksgiving, we were able to enjoy all the Disney Christmas decorations that were up.  It was BEAUTIFUL!!!  We did the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (which, by the way, is not included in admission and requires an extra ticket!).  It was totally worth it and our family loved it.







Faith at a dance party with Pluto and friends during the Christmas Party


  • BUT, if you don't want to pay the extra fee, just hop over to Hollywood Studios and see the Osbourne Family Spectacle of Lights!  It IS included in admission and it really is magical.


Spectacle of Lights at Hollywood Studios




-One of the fun things we did this time is visit some of the resorts we hadn't been to yet, and eat at their on-site restaurants!


Little girl in a Big chair at the Wilderness Lodge


  • At The Wilderness Lodge, I would *highly* recommend Whispering Canyons Cafe!  Servers are lots of fun, they have all-you-can-drink milkshakes (included with your meal!), and the food is yummy!  After you're done, walk around the beautiful resort and then take a boat ride back to Magic Kingdom!

he swore never to wear a Mickey shirt...until I made him :)



  • We also ate at Beaches and Cream at the Yacht and Beach club.  It's like a true 50's style Diner...jukebox and all!  We sat at the counter, which the girls thought was fab!  And while dinner was good, the stars at this restaurant are the desserts!!  My hubby and I shared the Milky Way sundae and it was worth every single calorie.  

The Milky Way Sundae at Beaches and Cream


  • (And while I have no idea how many calories there were, I'm sure it was about 3 days worth.  And it was still worth it!)
Expedition Everest at Epcot!  I even got Addy to ride with me this time!


Hmmm, that's about all I can think of for now.  But if you have specific questions, fire them off!  I LOVE to talk about Disney and would be happy to share :)